For many children, sleepover camp is an uncommon opportunity that allows them to escape from the mundane daily routine. At camps of this type, kids get to exert some Independence as they spend day and night away from their parents. Additionally, many sleepover camps provide kids with an assortment of enriching activities from which to select. If you are considering temporarily shipping your child off on a sleepover camp adventure, there are some things that you can do to make the transition less taxing and the overall experience more enjoyable.
Kids who attend sleepover camp can reap an array of benefits from the experience, reports “Seattle’s Child” magazine. Heading off to camp allows children to exercise a bit more autonomy, as they can make decisions without the help of mom and dad. Campers also gain opportunities to build their social skills and develop bonds with peers. Depending upon the type of camp the child attends, he will also likely have the opportunity to learn more about the subject central to his camp. For example, your camper will develop an enhanced understanding of nature if he attends a camp with an wilderness emphasis, or have the chance to hone his sports skills if he heads off to a sports-centric camp.
How Old Is Old Enough?
You can find a camp for children of almost any age, but some very young children may be ill prepared for the rigors and required independence of sleep away camp. Seven is likely a safe age at which to send your child off for a sleepover camp adventure, recommends Dr. Christopher Thurber, author of several books about the summer camp experience. However, no two children are the same, so before sending your child away to camp you should consider her maturity and ability to fend for herself. If your child seems a bit timid or disinterested in attending a sleepover camp, wait a couple of years to ensure she is not overwhelmed.
Picking a Camp
To ensure that your child gets the most benefit from his camp time, select a camp that appeals to his specific interests. If your child is a lover of sports, pick a camp where he can hone his sports skills. Similarly, if your daughter is a lover of drama, select a theater camp to enhance her flair for the dramatic. After you have narrowed down your potential camp choices, spend time perusing the websites with your child and looking at pictures of the potential home away from home. If the camp offers an open house, visit with your child so she can see the environment in which she will spend her summer first hand.
Preparing for Camp
Taking time to prepare your child for camp can increase the positive nature of her camp experience. After selecting a camp, review the brochure carefully with your child and discuss all of the activities the camp offers. As the date of departure approaches, take time to pack with your child, being sure to label all clothing and checking off the packing list together.
Helping the Anxious Child
If your child appears more anxious as the departure date approaches, you may need to offer additional support. If she seems hesitant about heading off to camp, rehearse the process. Discuss what heading off to camp will entail, as well as how frequently you will communicate while she is away. When you drop her off at camp, speak to her counselors about her hesitancy. Once informed, the trained camp staff will likely be able to keep a closer watch on her and help her successfully transition into camp life.